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Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System Paperback – 1 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd; New edition edition (1 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846270111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846270116
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 420,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'***** With the origins and politics of food such a hot topic at the moment, Patel ensures you are well informed'
-- Birmingham Mail

'Patel's anecdotes illustrate a careful argument... His plea is for a healthier world [and] one that is more just.'
-- Guardian

`Ambitious assessment of the true cost of the global food market - social, environmental, political and, above all, human' -- Daily Mail

About the Author

RAJ PATEL was educated at Oxford, the LSE, and Cornell. A former fellow at Yale and Berkeley, he is now at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has worked for the World Bank, interned at the WTO, consulted for the UN, and been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against his former employers. He is one of only a few activists trusted to work with the Via Campesina peasant movement. This is his first book. www.stuffedandstarved.org

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By bookfan on 25 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I searched hard for this book because I couldn't wait for it to come out in the USA. Normally when I work that hard to find a book, it doesn't live up to my expectations. S&S exceeded my wildest hopes for astonishment. Patel's radical hypothesis is that 1 billion starving and 1 billion fat is inevitable to the market logic of capitalism where a small number of corporations control the entire food growing, distribution, and selling network. Poor people are squeezed for every hour of labor, and rich countries are squeezed for every dollar they will spend, leading to an efficient system that runs poor farmers to the edge of starvation, and markets high-fat, cheaply made, poisoned food to the rest of us. Patel marshals an extraordinary range of evidence to show how this works at every level, and where the soft underbelly of this system is susceptible to positive change by grass roots movements. This would make an excellent documentary TV series. Much more enlightening than the other books I've read on this subject. I come away convinced that the greatest moral choice I can make is not how I vote or what I drive, but what I chose to eat.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Red Reader on 5 Oct. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Having read some of Patel's very highly regarded journalism and academic work in South Africa I ordered this book with high expectations. I wasn't disappointed. This book is exceptionally well written and an absolute pleasure to read. But, more importantly, is is one of the very few of the popular anti-globalizations books written from the global South - this book is genuinely internationalist. That's a very welcome relief.

It also brings together a dazzling range of facts and stories, perhaps a little bit like Mike Davis in its sometimes just plain awesome ambitions and scope.

And the actual content of its analysis, the politics of the global food system, is undertaken brilliantly. As far as I know this is the first serious internationalist critique of the global food system and its devastating. But its not just bleak - the stories of resistance are inspiring. It seems that this book will become something like the 'No Logo' for a new generation of activists and critical thinkers. I certainly hope so.

Qina!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alphamikecharlie on 30 April 2010
Format: Paperback
I have just finished this remarkable book, and will never be able to look at a supermarket in the same way. I have tried to be an ethical consumer, but this book shows just how difficult that can be in the current market structures. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to look behind where there food comes from. It is very well written, coherently argued, and accessible for those of us with a moderate understanding of economics. Thank you Raj. I'm off to buy your new book now.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Williams on 22 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Superbly written, well researched, and ambitious in its scope, Stuffed and Starved is an eye-opening exploration of capitalism's logic when it comes to food.
The title comes from the striking fact that Patel takes as his starting point - that there are 800 million hungry people in the world, and a billion overweight people. He proceeds to unpack this fact in the rest of the book, touching on the rise of ubiquitous ingredients such as soy or corn syrup, supermarkets, genetic engineering, and the economics at work behind these developments. I found the sections on the supply chain particularly good.
Patel doesn't need to ram his points home or play the guilt card. He presents the facts and the need for change is evident. Those changes, he suggests, include eating locally, rediscovering food as a pleasure, breaking the power of supply monopolies, and ensuring a living wage for everyone along the chain of production.
As a writer based in South Africa who has worked for the World Bank, Raj Patel is well placed to speak to both sides of the development debate. He has done so compellingly, and I will keep an eye out for anything he writes in the future.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Marie G. on 5 Dec. 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've found this book amazing. I've read it, and read it again, and got it for the Christmas socks of those who are willing to see beyond the shelves of the supermarkets. If you are a supermarket customer, if you have an opinion on GM crops, whatever this opinion is, if you would like to know more about what you eat and drink, where it comes from and why you eat and drink it, then this book is definitely for you!
Extremely well documented, this is a life-changing experience. I can't wait for the next one. Good on you Raj!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ms. M. Melvin on 4 May 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant book...details how the food corps direct and manipulate the systems they have set up in order to control prices,distribution and choice and have a direct impact on the evironment, indigenous peoples around the world, soil erosion, dangerous levels of pesticide use, starvation levels, obesity etc etc....
If you eat food...read this book....:-)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By linniekin on 18 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
A sweeping and passionate exposition of the global food system, 'Stuffed and Starved' is a masterly work that underlines why what we eat is so fundamental to who we are.

Patel's book lucidly and comprehensively deconstructs the idea that our current system is the only way, and the supermarket the only viable purveyor, to put food on our tables. He tracks the global food industry from grower to exporter, retailer to consumer, highlighting the many points at which the system is unsustainable, desperately exploitative, and, ultimately, frighteningly vulnerable.

Whether Patel is writing about urban gardening in south central Los Angeles, soy plantations in South America or the tragic plight of rural farmers in India, his voice is one suffused with a deep and lyrical compassion. And it's this humanity - and his hope that, however unlikely, another way lies within our reach - that makes 'Stuffed and Starved' truly special.

The best thing I've read since Naomi Klein's 'No Logo', Stuffed and Starved will shock, fascinate, anger and inspire you.
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